Saturday, January 31, 2009

out of the cage


For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen's University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

I am grappling with a few concepts in my own personal systematic theology right now. The first issue I am not sure about is the concept of the Trinity, and the second one (creation 'ex nihilo' or out of nothing) just popped up this week. I am not questioning whether these are true or not (okay, I am but just hang on), more like whether these are adequate concepts for us today. Each people group in their own place and time has to find language and concepts that relate Truth to where they are at. This is not relativism; this is the beauty of eternal Truth taking some concrete form in our human world and being able to touch every person at every point in time. Some ideas that were explored and explained centuries ago still find a hold in our day and time, but others do not.

If anything, I feel that the concepts of trinity and creation 'ex nihilo' are too small and limiting. The fact that someone really smart wrote eloquently about them a long time ago makes us think that the theology has been figured out, that in some way we have got a handle on this part of God. And if there is one thing I know by now, it is that one cannot get a handle on God.

I loved what Dan Wilt said in the video lecture (Essential Worship Theology): "Trinity is God saying don't put me in a box. I will express myself how I want to, in ways you don't understand, and you will have to figure out how to process it."

The problem with systematic theology is that it is a system. God cannot be systematised, described, itemised, or labeled. He cannot be contained in our minds, thoughts, or hearts. He is the uncontainable. He is more than trinity, and where he is, there is never nothing. I don't know what God looks like; I don't know how to put words to someone who is some and one at the same time, but I sure would like to give him more breathing room instead of keeping him in the theology cage.

These are two bears in a cage at the Ecomuseum. You don't mess with bears.

1 comment:

One of Freedom said...

I did a course on Trinitarian theology way back - and the biggest thing I got out of it was how inadequate most of my notions of Trinity have been. As evangelicals we like to have sure answers for tough theological questions - it is because we want to witness and think that to do that effectively we need to have a market on the Truth. But that course really opened me up to saying there is much more here than I could ever tap out in my lifetime - Trinity is a rich concept historically and even currently. So now I figure I'm more on the quest for Truth (rather than thinking I've got it) and my witness is simply inviting others to share that journey.

Have you looked at some of the Celtic ideas of panentheism? I find them way more compelling way of thinking through a theology of creation.